The gov’t continues the crackdown on IS-allied terrorists.
On January 9, 2015, the Philippine government’s security forces announced its intent to eradicate Mindanao-based groups that affiliate themselves with the international terrorist organization that calls itself the Islamic State.
The primary targets of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police are the Abu Sayyaf and the Maute Group. The two extremist organizations are slated to be neutralized within six months.
However, the group known as Ansar al-Khilafah Philippines (AKP), which declared its allegiance to the Islamic state in 2014, poses an immediate challenge for the Philippine National Police (PNP). The AKP is a constant terror threat in Region XII, i.e., South Cotabato, Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat and Sarangani (SOCCSKSARGEN). In January 26, President Rodrigo Duterte is scheduled to visit the coal-fired power plant at Barangay Kamanga in Maasim town, along the western seaboard of Sarangani Province.
Joint elements of the PNP, the Philippine Army (PA), and the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) have been ramping up operations to keep the jihadists on their toes and prevent any sort of incident.
Police are on the hunt for three AKP core members, including two from Maguindanao Province who are believed to be still hiding in western Sarangani or MaKiMa area (Maasim-Kiamba-Maitum).
Security and intelligence operations have resulted in the deaths of three jihadists, including a foreign bomb maker, and the arrest of six suspected terrorists this January alone.
On January 17, 2017 at around 4:00 a.m., the PNP’s Regional Anti-Illegal Drug Special Operation Task Force (RAIDSOTF), and personell of Police Regional Office-12, arrested Zaidon Nilong, Danny Yang, and Mario Suib Linggay in a court-ordered search of at least a dozen houses in Purok 2, Barangay Lapu, in the Municipality of Polomolok, South Cotabato near General Santos City.
The late Mohammad Jaafar Maguid (alias Tokboy Abugaib), former chair of the AKP who was slain during police operations on January 5 in Sarangani, was a native of Barangay Daliao in Maasim, and was reported to have a dedicated following in the area.
Police intelligence reports that Nilong had planned to replace Maguid.
The Nilong, Yang, and Linggay were put in the custody of the Polomolok Municipal Police Station. On the 18th of January, appropriate criminal charges against the three were filed before the South Cotabato Provincial Prosecution Office.
Nilong, his four children, and his two nephews allegedly joined the AKP and allowed the pro-IS group to use their family’s old MNLF camp at Sitio Malyango in Barangay Aflek, Municipality of Tboli, across Silway River from Lapu, where some members from Maguindanao including a brother and brother-in-law of Usman are reported to be hiding.
Family ties among and across jihadist elements are common: Nilong’s wife, the former Kamariya Maguid Tuanadatu, was said to be the aunt of Maguid. Nilong is said to be a second degree cousin of the late Ahmad Batabol Usman (alias Abdul Basit Usman), founder of Ansarul Khilafah Southern Mindanao, which was merged with Maguid’s Ansar Khilafah Sarangani Southern Philippines, to form the AKP soon after the death of Usman in May 2015.
After the successful operation that killed Usman in Mamasapano, the original followers of the Ansarul Khilafa Southern Mindanao could no longer hide and operate in Maguindanao.